April 2017

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  • Every now and then, I have one of those social butterfly weekends. This was one of those weekends. Bobby and I met our friends Tristan and Don for Indian food on Friday night. On Saturday, we hosted a Burns supper for six of our friends in the SCA. It was so, so much fun. The food, prepared by Bobby (except vanilla ice cream by moi), was fabulous and plentiful. We had some big eaters at the party and still put away leftovers. There was beer and Scotch. Lots of empty bottles, and four different kinds of Scotch to pass around. (I indulged in my favorite, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and ended up quite happy.)


  • Sunday was less good. Bobby was at Ski Patrol training, taking the sled down a double black diamond run with moguls (apparently the most challenging run to do with the sled on a snowboard) when some ass on skis cut in front of him. To avoid hitting the guy, Bobby put on the brakes hard and ended up wiping out and reinjuring the shoulder he separated last year. So he's back in the sling. It's not as bad as the injury last year, thankfully. Two of the senior patrolers took off after the guy who caused the accident and gave him a piece of their minds at the bottom of the hill.


  • It's been ridiculously cold now for over a week. It is presently 12F/-11C. Yesterday, it got above freezing here for the first time since last week. When I woke up in the morning, it was 33F/1C and actually felt warm outside when I went out to care for the chickens. It was short-lived, though, and by going-home time that afternoon, was back down below freezing again.


  • I am almost done with my current grad school class. The class is on the Enlightenment and is the one where I am the only student in the class. It has been ... okay. It is just not the time period that I am most interested in, and the reading has been lengthy and intense, with a paper due for each work.

    • The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova

    • The Confessions of J.J. Rousseau (this guy is fucking crazy and the book is about as long as Don Quixote*)

    • Pride and Prejudice (this week felt like vacation!!)

    • the major works of Thomas Paine (totaling to DQ length again)

    • The Journals of Lewis and Clark (not the whole thing thank god)


    It has been hard to motivate myself. I have my final paper left and a multimedia presentation of my abstract, and that's it. I finished the Lewis and Clark paper this weekend. I think the final paper is going to be on idealistic depictions of Nature in Rousseau and Paine and how each author uses the concept of the "natural man" in developing his ideas of the ideal government and civilization. Doesn't that sound exciting? The good thing is that I have most of my sources already from the papers I already had to write on these authors.

    *Don Quixote has long been my standard for what counts as a long book, ever since middle-school Spanish class when the length of DQ was the subject of hushed awe by my teacher. I had to read DQ for my last class on the Renaissance so it is on my Kindle now, and it is easy to compare its length to that of other books by the number of little dots below it on the listing.


  • I am taking March off from school. I can do crazy things like that now that I'm no longer on financial aid.


  • The Goldens got into a fight yesterday. I had taken some overcooked, stale wontons out to the chickens. The wind caught them and blew a few of them and a lot of crumbs past the fence and onto the snow. Phil gobbled up the whole wontons right away. I didn't think much of it. Bobby and I were eating breakfast when we heard one of the Goldens start crying outside. We both ran to the door since there is a possum living in the shed, and we were afraid one of them had gotten to it. But no ... Phil had his jaws closed on Alex's head and was pinning him to the ground while Alex screamed. Alex has a small puncture over his right eye. As far as we can tell, they were fighting over the wonton crumbs, as though they don't have ample meat-based food constantly available in the house.


  • And I think that's all.
At the beginning of the week, Bobby told me that he'd looked into and gotten us a membership at the Carroll Aquatics Center. We actually have a pool right here in Manchester, but we looked into it a few years ago, and it was ridiculously expensive; CAC is $45 a month for a husband/wife membership. The Manchester pool is also summer-only, whereas the CAC keeps their lap pool open year-round; it is a heated pool, and in the winter, they put a bubble over it. It has been a battle for me lately, dealing with pain/inflammation issues, to take exercise. A lot of things that I used to be able to do hurt now, and with the summer heat starting in earnest, even when it doesn't hurt, it's just not pleasant to hike or ride bikes in 90 degree F weather, especially given Carroll County's rather hilly terrain. (It's 85F/29C right now--I'm outside on our patio--but I'm under the trees and there's a breeze blowing, so it's actually quite nice. It's 91F/33C in Baltimore right now. One of the many times when I ♥ Carroll County. Those of you on the East Coast dealing with the escalating summer heat right now know the difference those 6 degrees make!)

I miss being physically strong. It used to be that I could hold my own against anyone around my size and quite often against people bigger than me too. I don't like looking weak or asking for help. I think this comes from the horribleness that was elementary school gym class, where I was always made to appear weak and incompetent and came to believe it before being brought gently to reality by my first skating teacher. In recent years--changing jobs, starting grad school, and then these recent pain issues--I haven't been able to take exercise for a variety of reasons. So I'm no longer strong like I used to be, which I don't like. Swimming is something I've always liked--I intensely dislike most forms of exercise, i.e. anything involving team sports or running--and been good at. And it's low-impact enough that I hope I can get a good workout without hurting badly afterward.

We went to the pool for the first time today. There is a lap pool and a recreational pool. I thought, when we arrived, that I'd be happy with a few gentle laps, just to get myself stretched and back into the motion. I haven't swam in earnest since moving to Carroll County, which is now six years. At ten laps, I thought, "I'll go for 25." At 20, I decided, "Why not 30?" My former self could swim forever* and would find 30 laps laughable, but my present self was really happy with that, especially since I swam hard for about half of those laps. I was starting to feel a little tired by the end of it. I figure I'll increase by four laps each time I go until I can swim forever again, then ramp up the intensity.

* I am extremely buoyant, so I don't have to work to keep myself afloat, just to move through the water. With a normal lungful of air, I can wrap my legs into a lotus, cross my arms, and float with the water at my chin. If I empty my lungs of air, I sink to just below my nose. This was always a good thing--when I was a kid, I never understood why we had to tread water to pass swim tests, since treading water was literally no effort for me, since I don't even have to move my arms and legs to float upright with my head above water--until I did my open water scuba certification and got out into the quarry and couldn't sink. I explained to the divemaster that I needed more weight because I'm unusually buoyant yadda yadda, and he kindly mansplained to me that that was impossible and I was just nervous and holding air in my lungs. Thank you, sir, for clarifying that twenty-some years of experience in my body, swimming nearly every day in the summer as a kid, wasn't real all that time! Eventually, not surprisingly, he had to put more weight on me, and I sank like a stone.

Yesterday was the 4th; we had a party: small but fun, consisting of both sides of the family and our friends Tristan and Don. After everyone left, Bobby and I were sitting outside, having a drink and enjoying the gorgeous evening, when we realized that we could see the Manchester fireworks going off through the trees. So we drove to the end of the street and watched them from there. In six years here, we never realized that we could see them from up here. It was also cool because our street looks west into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we could see other fireworks going on out there, in miniature form and complete silence. The fireflies that fly late around here--Photinus consimilis, I think--and emit three or four flashes in quick succession were out in the trees, competing with the fireworks. (Here's a good article about Maryland fireflies.) Tomorrow, we are going on a bus trip with my parents to Atlantic City for the day.
Yesterday was our annual Halloween party, much scaled back from prior years due to a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bobby and I didn't get ourselves organized till mid-month. There was only family in attendance, but we had a good time and served a good meal (always one of the major reasons why Bobby and I host parties!) We had potato-leek soup for the first course; barbecue chicken (with barbecue sauce made during Tropical Storm Irene last year), potatoes and green apples smothered in cheddar cheese, and spinach salads for the second course; and an assortment of desserts brought by the family for the final course. Dad made cookies and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake; my mother-in-law brought a "dirt cake." And, of course, we had hot buttered rum! Despite my abstaining from alcohol this week, I did have one cup. :^|

Pictures below the Cut )
Yesterday was our fourth annual House of Felagund Halloween party! We had to have it a week early because next weekend is our barony's TnT event.

Halloween Party )
Lots of Stuff behind the Cut )
On Saturday, Bobby and I hosted a Haunted Housewarming Party for our friends and family to come visit our new home. I asked our guests to forgo the obligatory gift and potluck meal in favor of procuring--and wearing--a Halloween costume. (Well, we "allowed" our parents and Mom-Mom to help us this time with the food ... but no one else! *foot down* Though Aunt Lois brought a vegetable tray anyway.) Bobby and I tried for meals easy to serve to a group, but we also tried to include a few seasonal and traditional specialties.

Anyway, we had a great time. And since I know that there are many of you who would have liked to have been at the party--and indeed, were there in spirit--then I offer a virtual housewarming party for those who couldn't attend, be it because of prior obligations or because we live an ocean apart. As with our "in-person" guests, I ask you to bring nothing but a penchant for a good time and a sense of humor.

So if you'd like to visit the House of Felagund for a while, don your mask and costume and follow me right this way ...

You Are Cordially Invited to a Haunted Housewarming Party )
Before embarking upon the weekend recap, here's a meme that I gakked from [livejournal.com profile] juno_magic:

Describe me in one word - just one.

Comment to me, then post this entry to your Live Journal and see how many strange things people think about you.

What can I say? I find this one intriguing!

And now for the weekend.... )